Hazel Park art gallery and studio offers chance to use large scale woodblock printing press

The Big Tuna is coming.

It’s not everyday that artists can get their hands on a woodblock printing press, an ancient form of printing that uses hand-carved woodblocks to “stamp” images onto paper, canvas, or otherwise. And it’s definitely not everyday that a woodblock printing press comes to them.

But that’s going to be the case in Hazel Park come this October, when New Hampshire-based BIG INK brings its one-of-a-kind woodblock printing press to Color | Ink Studio.

The Big Tuna, as it’s known, is a mobile woodblock printing press, utilizing modular design principles to enable travel. It’s no small feat; such presses typically weigh more than a ton. According to BIG INK, there are less than half a dozen large-scale woodblock presses available for public use.

BIG INK has been touring the country with its mobile printing press, visiting galleries and hosting workshops along the way. Color | Ink Studio, which is currently hosting a BIG INK exhibition of woodblock prints through Saturday, Aug. 14, will welcome The Big Tuna in October.

“This exhibition of large-scale woodblock prints is the first of its kind in the metropolitan Detroit area,” says gallery director Candace Law. “The monumental size of these prints is amazing — the smallest is 24” x 36” and the largest is 72” x 36” — and the creative energy and skill on display is nothing short of breathtaking.”

Local artists of all levels are encouraged to apply for their own chance to utilize Big Tuna. Artists have until Monday, Aug. 9, to apply and no experience is necessary.

Following their acceptance, artists will have until the weekend of Oct. 16 and 17 to hand carve their woodblocks, when they will then be invited to utilize The Big Tuna during its visit to Color | Ink Studio. The studio’s current woodblock print exhibition can be viewed online or in-person and by appointment.

“The contemporary printmakers represented in the exhibition use the same historical techniques but take widely varied approaches,” says Law. “Some use realistic imagery, and for some the work is very abstract. Yet each artist shapes the medium to their individual aesthetic and voice to express something unique for themselves and for the viewer.”

Visit BIG INK online to apply.

Color | Ink Studio is located at 20919 John R Rd. in Hazel Park.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.